Michael Cates

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Michael Cates
Professor Cates in 2012
Born Michael Elmhirst Cates
(1961-05-05) 5 May 1961 (age 55)
Citizenship United Kingdom
Fields Physics
Soft matter
Institutions University of Cambridge
University of Edinburgh
Alma mater Trinity College, Cambridge
Doctoral advisor Sir Sam Edwards
Notable awards Maxwell Medal and Prize (1991)
Paul Dirac Medal and Prize (2009)
Weissenberg Award (2013)

Michael Elmhirst Cates FRS FRSE (born 5 May 1961) is a British physicist. He has been the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge since 1 July 2015.[1] He was previously Professor of Natural Philosophy and Royal Society Research Professor[2] at the University of Edinburgh.[3] His scientific work is varied, but focuses on the theory of soft matter, such as polymers, colloids, gels, liquid crystals, and granular material. A frequent goal is to create a mathematical model that predicts the stress in a flowing material as a functional of the flow history of that material. Such a mathematical model is called a constitutive equation. Recently he has worked on theories of active matter, particularly dense suspensions of self-propelled particles which can include motile bacteria.

Cates is the Principal Investigator of an EPSRC Programme Grant, awarded in 2011, entitled Design Principles for New Soft Materials.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Cates was born on 5 May 1961.[6] He read Natural Sciences and earned a PhD at Trinity College, Cambridge in 1985, where he studied with Sam Edwards.

Academic career[edit]

Cates was a Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge before moving to Edinburgh in 1995.


He won the 2013 Weissenberg Award of the European Society of Rheology [7] and was awarded the 2011 Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Lecture Prize.[8]

He won the 2009 Gold Medal of the British Society of Rheology. He was awarded the 2009 Dirac Prize by the Institute of Physics. He won the 1991 Maxwell Medal and Prize. He is currently an elected member of the Council of the Royal Society, and has been an Honorary Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge since 2013.[3]


Michael Cates has over 300 refereed scientific publications. His H-index is 85.

Highly cited publications include:

  • Theory of the Grafted Polymer Brush, ST Milner, TA Witten and ME Cates, Macromolecules 21, 2610-2619 (1988)
  • Statics and dynamics of worm-like surfactant micelles, ME Cates and SJ Candau, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 2, 6969-6892 (1990)
  • Reptation of living polymers: dynamics of entangled polymers in the presence of reversible chain-scission reactions, ME Cates, Macromolecules 20, 2289-2296 (1987)
  • Rheology of soft glassy materials, P Sollich, F Lequeux, P Hebraud and ME Cates, Physical Review Letters 78, 2020-2023 (1997)
  • Multiple glassy states in a simple model system, KN Pham et al, Science 296, 104-106 (2002)
  • Jamming, force chains, and fragile matter, ME Cates, JP Wittmer, JP Bouchaud and P Claudin, Physical Review Letters 81, 1841-1844 (1998)

Over 200 recent publications are listed at the website of PHYESTA (Physics at Edinburgh and St Andrews).[3]


  1. ^ "Cambridge University Reporter No 6380". 18 March 2015. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  2. ^ http://royalsociety.org/grants/case-studies/michael-cates/
  3. ^ a b c "Prof. Mike Cates | PHYESTA". Phyesta.supa.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  4. ^ "Design Principles for New Soft Materials". Gow.epsrc.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  5. ^ ECFP. "Design Principles for New Soft Materials". .ph.ed.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  6. ^ "CATES, Prof. Michael Elmhirst". Who's Who 2014. A & C Black. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Weissenberg Award to Michael Cates | The European Society of Rheology". Rheology-esr.net. 2013-04-04. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  8. ^ "8th Liquid Matter Conference 2011 » De Gennes Lecture". Lmc2011.univie.ac.at. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 

External links[edit]